The three of us will be leaving soon to establish our own residence. We’ll be renting a home, hopefully to own. As excited as I am to start this new chapter of our lives this is truly a bittersweet occasion. It’s surreal to think that we have our first appointment to see a house tomorrow at noon. I understand that every young adult [myself included] has their series of I’M A GROWN UP! moments: your first ‘real’ job, bills with your name on them, etc. This is par for the course. However, it takes the concept to an entirely new level when you are branching out as a family with a spouse and children as opposed to a twentysomething bachelorette making your mark on the world. Now I feel as though I have finally crossed the threshold into adulthood.
[[ Before that statement bites me in the derrière let me cover my tracks and say that having a child of my own most certainly matured me and introduced serious adult responsibilities but now my family and I are officially leaving the nest. ]]
When I was seventeen I moved out of my parent’s house. That first year I split my time between my dorm room at Ole Miss during the academic week and a giant house in midtown Memphis, converted into smaller units, on the weekends. From that point forward I apartment-hopped all over Shelby County [all of these places are irrelevant except for my time at Campus View with my favorite roommate, Megan] and had a brief stint in a tiny duplex where six adults were crammed like sardines in a minuscule space with no air conditioning. A slight misunderstanding with the Italian Mafia– I kid you not– served as my impetus for vacating the premises. With no saved money or couches to crash on, I returned to my childhood home with my tail between my legs at the tender age of 21.
What originated as a temporary arrangement eventually became my permanent living quarters when my husband moved in [after his lease with his cousin expired] and we learned we were expecting. Okay, so, maybe it lasted three years longer than I anticipated– but this was our family’s choice— and we would not have had it any other way.
I always thought it was so funny when people would give me grief for still living at home, as if I was somehow relegated to this doomed fate. Yes, I sacrificed much of my privacy and even some freedom, and there were plenty of arguments and even some major fights– yet in the end it was well worth it. Not only was I able to save tons of money [at times this proved to be an epic fail- but I’m speaking in overall terms here], get free babysitting, and walk downstairs to a pantry where I could stuff my face with gourmet cuisine as opposed to stale Ramen noodles….but beyond any of those added bonuses we had a family in the truest sense.
Those Europeans are really onto something. Americans should definitely take a cue from our overseas neighbors when it comes to family living. It makes me so sick how quickly parents count down the days to their children are legal adults only to toss them to the streets to fend for themselves. And the despicable way in which adult children toss the elderly parents who raised them into a nursing home– whatever happened to families taking care of each other? I’d go broke before I ever see one of my kinfolk placed in some retirement home, or worse, no home at all. But I’ll save that conservative sounding tirade about ‘focusing on the family’ for another day. 😉
Having three generations under one roof bridged all the gaps and reminded me how infinitely blessed I am. Our home was happy, exciting, lively, busy, chaotic, fun, and constantly filled with laughter. Adam got to know both of his grandparents in an intimate setting. I had the comfort of experiencing my own parental journey with my mom and dad who raised me offering guidance and sharing these precious moments of my son’s childhood. Even more special for us was the impact our situation had on Will. My husband was orphaned as an early teen– his home life was often dysfunctional– and his childhood was not an easy one. When he confided in me some of the things he endured I was appalled. These issues absolutely should not be ignored but I do not want the emphasis of this post to be adversity….instead, I choose to focus on Will’s ‘second chance’ at a stable home life. Nothing can undo the pain he suffered but I am so glad he got another go, in a sense, at his childhood. Three generations of pure love.
[[ Sidenote: Will’s three sisters are incredible young women who have done great things with their lives and overcome tremendous obstacles. I am so very proud of Angela, Holly, and Ashley. It also fulfilled me immensely to have met Grandpa Elder (* R. I. P. *) before he passed because I know how much that wonderful man did….especially to instill values in Will as he was a veteran in the World War II and Korean Wars and a good, Christian man who shaped his grandchildren in his image.. I also cannot exclude the importance his widow, Grandma Elder, a lady in the truest sense of the word who loves her family deeply. ]]
So I may be glorifying this situation a tad bit. Trust me, I am not immune to shouting at a parental to “GET THE !@#$%^&* OUT OF MY FACE BEFORE YOU DRIVE ME INSANE!!” I cannot even tell you how many times I drove off in huff vowing to never return, complained endlessly about my mother being nosy, looked at my father incredulously when he suggested I perform any sort of manual labor, and the countless instances I broke down in tears of frustration for some reason or another. Was it always a walk in the park? Of course not. But I will never in a million years regret the first bit of Adam’s life that we spent at home. A huge part of me feels as though we are putting The Wee One at a disadvantage by not giving her the same opportunity. The time has come for us to move on, though…..
Mom and Dad, thank you for all you’ve done for us. I love you so much. Leaving you with my family in tow terrifies me. We’ll miss you! I am sorry from the bottom of my heart for all the grief I have put you through, especially in my wilder days. I am so grateful for EVERYTHING. Never in my life have I met two people as phenomenal as you, my idols. You are the best parents I could ever imagine. Know that I’ll always be your little girl and you’ll never be too far away from your precious grandchildren.
Ideally I wish there was a ‘main compound’ on our property for my parents and we had a guest house about a half a mile down the road for our family…..with the option to expand to accommodate our future grandchildren many moons from now. And it would be pretty sweet if rent was still free too. 😉
With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,